Just a regular guy that spends a lot of time behind the wheel. I don't care about the topic, if it keeps me from boredom, I'm content.
I would recommend the title, but not in audio format.
I had to listen to the book at half speed to understand the narrator. Her shrill voice always felt like it was stabbing into my ears.
WW1 action-packed beginning
A World Undone also covers WW1, beginning with the first 2 months covered here and extending to the end of the war.
No. The delivery was good, except for the major problem of german words being completely mangled. One would think that a narrator would take the trouble to use easily available internet aids to find out the proper pronunciation of the many german words used. The mangled delivery given only serves to give the impression that the narrator was too lazy to invest the minimal time required.
The first section is good but when the fighting breaks out I found it difficult to follow. I believe the author says her purpose was to cover the causes of the war up to the establishment of the stalemate in 1914. Analysis of the European powers in the decades between 1870 and the war is interesting. The depiction of the nations tumbling into war due to alliances and mobilization schedules in the summer of 1914 is rightly considered the highlight of the book. Unfortunately when the battles begin the analysis ends, and much detail is expended on the first couple months of the war. Names of various commanders and acronyms for plans and headquarters, troop movements without maps. If this was in service of a theory for how the military actions of the first few months led to stalemate, and that it could have gone another way, all this would be worth the effort. But the battles do not seem pivotal. Stalemate seems to be fated. Recommended as a library book, but not a good use of a credit.
I like to read but listening is better.
This is the sort of book that I hope for every time I download an audio book. Barbara Tuchman is a pretty safe bet. She's one of the great history writers.
As always, Nadia May is perfect in this role. I still wind up forgetting that the author herself is not the narrator. That's how well May's voice and style fit Tuchman's writing.
The great thing about Tuchman's work is that she gives detailed and educational histories that are also entertaining and even exciting. Guns of August is no exception. This isn't an audio book that you'll just turn on in the car because you're sick of the songs on your iPod. You get swept up in the story and immersed in it.
That's what's so great about Tuchman's work. It satisfies those of us who want to spend reading time educating ourselves, while also giving us the same pleasure that a novel would. Guns of August is tremendous.
Tuchman's A Distant Mirror
It required undivided attention but worth it. Relistening to parts required. Huge cast of characters with complex history.
The narration was bad. The narrator has a British accent. Trying to act out quotations, especially with a French accent (in English or Frsnch by a French speaker) were grating. Her narration style, starting in high registers and swooping down is distracting. Almost all characters are male and the common reverse falsetto - trying to sound male by forced lowering pitch - as usual a bad idea. I might have to get the print version. This is just taking too long. It's a great book and deserved a more serious less histrionic narration.
If you like simple history with no plot it is ok.
I simply didn't enjoy her
The lack of a plot made the book difficult to listen to.
The Guns of August is often referred to as the premier account of the events leading up to and including the outbreak of the great war of 1914-18. And no wonder.
The narrative is perfectly paced, with just the right amount of detail, and an excellent balance between facts, character drawing and anecdote. The book leaves you with a deep understanding of the background, causes and conduct of the first few weeks of the war. Any true fan of history find tons of joy and interest here.
I really like the narration of Nadia May, with the one incomprehensible exception that she has chosen to pronounce all (non-english) quotes with a faux accent. This brings nothing at all to the narration, sounds irritating and stupid, and is, on the whole, a poor choice. It doesn't really ruin the narration, and she does really well in all other respects, but it is quite a shame, as it would have been outstanding otherwise.
The book is detailed but boring in my opinion. For me the narrator is simply hard to listen to. After starting and stopping and starting again, I finally gave up on the book about 1/2 way through. Changed to a new book to give myself a break. While the book detail is great, and I am sure I will one day finish this book, the narrator's voice (female British accented voice that for me sounded a bit too condescending and reminded me of a school teacher) just made it hard for me to listen and follow.
Guns of August is extraordinarily researched and detailed. It amazed me how so much information could be written in such a way that it is more like a complex and well told story. Despite the minute details, this is probably the most impressive compendium explaining why the war that nobody wanted became the war that everyone fought.
Nadia May did a wonderful job of presenting this work audibly.
I've listened to a lot of war/history audiobooks. This is the absolute worst narration of any of them. A shrill, British, female voice is absolutely NOT the right choice for narrating this great WW1 book. I almost had to stop listening at several points during the book because it was so hard to listen to.